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Medicines shortages

Serious shortage protocol issued for haloperidol

A serious shortage protocol (SSP) for haloperidol 500 microgram capsules (Serenace; Sigma) has been issued for England and Wales.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued the protocol, which gives pharmacists the ability to supply 500 microgram tablets instead of 500 microgram capsules, on 23 December 2019 and it is due to expire on 23 March 2020.

Pharmacists can expect to be paid a total of £6.62 for supplying against the protocol, including a single activity fee of £1.27 and an SSP fee of £5.35. 

A statement from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said that while these capsules are a low-volume line, the DHSC believed “the disruption to supply has reached a level that requires intervention”.

On 19 December 2019 the government withdrew the final SSP for fluoxetine, which was the first medicine to be subject to the legislation.

The legislation came into force on 1 July 2019 and enables pharmacists to dispense against an SSP instead of a prescription, without going back to the prescriber first, in an effort to manage medicines shortages.

The SSP is not valid in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20207511

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